I had the pleasure of DJing for a lot of Germans and some other Europeans on Thanksgiving night. This is nothing new but I am a bit jealous of the Eurotrash because the ones I talked to have really crappy jobs, yet they have healthcare and can afford to travel through their whole four-week vacation and then some. They see the United States as a failing imperial power ceding by default to China whereas Europe decided a long time ago that building useful things is a lot better than building war. Their taste in music corresponds.
One of my favorite places in New York has to be Fat Cat. It's a gigantic basement of games (pool, ping pong, scrabble, chess, shuffleboard) plus live jazz music all night long. A large percentage of the clientele is NYU students who don't give a shit about the music but even so, the atmosphere is usually pretty crazy. The musicians might be jazz students or veterans hanging out late and playing with the kids. If you don't like the games, have some beer or wine and just dig.
I haven't posted in a while but I will. Thanks for sticking around. New Yorkers should know that I usually DJ Thursday nights at SIP Lounge on the Upper West Side. I play mostly soul but lots of other stuff gets thrown in. Small "mersh" playlist below.
On July 20th 2010, I went on a Rocks Off boat cruise that cost only $10! What a deal! I took some pictures of the bands (Miniboone, The Naked Heroes, and the Mess Around) but they were all pretty blurry. I've seen all the bands before and they're all great local acts from New York and Brooklyn. I don't think you'll find a cheaper rock'n'roll cruise but I highly recommend catching at least one of the remaining rides if you want to blow off some summer steam in New York fuckin City.
Last weekend I was at the Grey Fox bluegrass festival and despite most of my friends not showing up until the final day, I had a blast. I picked up a passenger from craigslist and her party was nice enough to let me camp with them in the shady trees that line the festival grounds. It was a lot hotter than last year and while rain was scarce, Saturday night we got hit with a four-hour lightning storm that shut down Sam Bush's set early. Sometimes people ask me: Hugh, you're an old punk rock dude. Why do you like bluegrass? Like punk, there is a certain DIY aspect to bluegrass -- even moreso because you usually don't need any amplification for the instruments. The songwriting has a definite dark side that appeals to me along with blunt honesty. As you can tell from the photos, I like what the kids are doing as much as the established artists. Check out Crooked Still, Sarah Jarosz, and Della Mae at their websites! It's funny that many of these kids are studying bluegrass at places like the Berklee School of Music and the Boston Conservatory. Enjoy the pix and playlist below.
I was fooling around with iPhoto and made this slideshow of mostly reject photos although some are published already. The music is "Thunderbird" by The Whitefield Brothers. They may ask me to take it down at some point... enjoy.
I caught this charming couple singing catchy tunes off a fire escape on 14th Street last night. This is on the stretch between 6th and 7th Avenue and across the street from the Salvation Army headquarters. I didn't catch their names (their names escaped me?), but maybe they'll see this and fill us in. The bar below probably knows them also.
I went to a CD release party for the guitar quartet called Dither a few weeks ago. Dither is emulating the Bang on a Can mission by producing casual concerts of new music in unique settings. Indeed, they are the group that graced the program cover for the recent Bang on a Can Marathon. The Invisible Dog gallery -- so named because it was the Carroll Gardens factory where the original "invisible dog leashes" were traditionally manufactured -- is a wonderful building with a gallery on the first floor and artist studios above. These were taken during the "If You See Something, Say Something" art show and a mostly different show is there now. More info on the art can be found at the site. I had a great time and apologies for not posting these sooner!